Friday, April 27, 2007

Nurse the Hate: Vegas

I was in Vegas last weekend, and let me tell you, I could not lose. Example: I go out to dinner with my lovely female companion at Charlie Palmer Steak and spend $300 on a meal that was basically an ass raping with white linen napkins. I’ll pay a premium for a good quality steak and the atmosphere of the Four Seasons, but the side dishes should at least taste good, no? That potato gratin dish was a sea of soupy parmesan with some potato nuggets swimming around in the glop. Horrible. Anyway, I had put my entire billfold on the Tribe after I learned there was some mysterious flu bug wafting around the Devil Rays clubhouse. I’m sweating it as we sit down and look at the criminally marked up wine list ($450 for a 2003 Silver Oak Napa cabernet? Fuck you very much Charlie Palmer!). The Tribe is 3-3 going into the eighth. The good news comes via Krusty text message that the Indians win (-185 with CC on the hill) 4-3 just as the outstanding wait staff clears the unremarkable yet unbelievably expensive meal.

Feeling good, we stop at a roulette table in the Mandalay Bay and play $10 inside on 33. Why 33? Besides being the age of perfection, and the age of Jesus death, it is on a Rolling Rock bottle. More importantly, it was played in the single greatest Las Vegas comeback of all time by Dave “The Stackmaster” Sewickley at the Stratosphere when he won back 3 days of massive losses in one spin of the wheel. Since then, I always play 33 and so should you.

A bunch of grim faced losers barely looked up at us as we dropped the $10 on 33 as the wheel popped the ball across the numbers. Of course, we hit the 33 on the first bet and take our $360 as the rest of them watch helplessly as their chip are swooped into the great side basket. Thanks! See ya!

I wake up the next morning and heavy up on the Bulls who seem to be unable to lose at home. Once again, I come up a winner as they easily cover the 4 points. With a full slate of baseball, I’m all over the board and win all four of those games as well. What else can you do but play a little blackjack to kill some time? Win, win, win…I’ve never seen anything else like it. I sat down at tables all over town. I didn’t lose a dime at a single one. When’s the last time you were playing blackjack and the dealer gave you five aces against her 6? It was that kind of weekend…Lakers plus 10.5? Sure, I’ll take that for whatever cash I have here. Oh, I won again? Great!

I highly recommend a meal at the wildly overpriced Bradley Ogden at Caesars. The cooking is focused on showcasing top quality ingredients and letting natural flavors shine. Start with the blue cheese soufflé, and move onto their playful take on barbeque pork. Two small cuts of light tenderloin are infused with a bold smoky grilled zest, and rest atop smoked broccolini. The side dish is a base of dark slow cooked pork with an impossibly luscious buttery biscuit top. It is so rich, but yet a perfect counter part to the light pork medallions in the entrée. We drank a bottle of 2004 Martinelli “Giuseppe and Louisa” Zinfandel that came in at a whopping 17% alcohol but didn’t have any of the heat you would associate with that high an alcohol level. It was balanced, peppery, and rich. This was really a perfect wine selection for the pork dish. (I immediately tracked down 3 bottles of this wine when I got home.) This meal is expensive as hell, but when you are throwing hundies around like I was it was no big deal. Go eat there. You deserve it.

We leave Bradley Ogden, and I figure we should stop by the roulette table again on the way out. This is dangerous as Caesars has traditionally stuck it up my ass with a rawhide mallet. I ask my lovely companion what number to play, and for some reason I agree to play the recommended 14. Of course, we come up losers. Quickly coming to my senses, I drop $10 on 33. The wheel spins and 33 comes up again. Thanks for the $360, and here’s a ten spot for a new haircut Sport! For shits and giggles, I drop ten more down on 19 for no good reason and hit that… “I love this game! Don’t you? Where’s that cocktail waitress? Hard luck tonight, huh buddy? Me? I can’t lose! I just won $100 taking a shit at the Barbary Coast! Hey, what’s that look for? They’re giving money away here!”

Sensing that the table has turned ugly, I am whisked out of there with my pockets full of black and green chips. If you’ve been having a tough go of it, I was the last guy you wanted to see. Deon Sanders would have looked at me and said, “That’s one cocky motherfucker over there.”

When you have a wallet full of green in Vegas, what do you do with it? You guessed it…Go to The Gun Store and shoot machine guns! I can’t remember when I have had more fun than paying for full clips of ammunition for shooting M-16, M-60, and MP-40s at full automatic. I wish I remembered German profanities so I could have screamed it while hot bullet casings flew out of my vintage 1943 Nazi machine gun. I don’t care if you are 100% for gun control. Even you would have had an erection out to the street corner shooting these weapons. It’s awesome.

My only regret was not being able to stay in the action longer. As it was a pleasure trip, I had to relax poolside and curb my deviant tendencies. Had I spent 10 more hours in the casino, I might never have had to work again. As it stands, it was just the best trip I’ve ever had out there (and I’ve had some killers).

Side note: The streak is not dead. I came home and promptly went 3 for 3 in baseball. I will be releasing my 5 star lock of the weekend this Friday afternoon. Take your entire paycheck and ball the jack. I can’t lose…

Random Notes: The Bloody Hollies “Who To Trust, Who To Kill, Who To Love” is easily their best CD ever. The sound is immediate and powerful. Wesley’s singing has been a weak link on record before, but he comes up huge here. He sounds more confident, and full than he ever has before. When you put this CD on, I’ll bet you have a couple friends ask if it’s The White Stripes due to his vocal similarities on a few songs. Be the hip guy at work, and go get it…Why can’t the Texas Rangers ever get a good pitching staff together? It’s the same thing every year at this time. The Browns will blow their #1 draft pick, Southside Johnny will play the local rib fest, and the Rangers pitching staff will be the worst in the American League (besides KC which has a $288.15 budget) I can get more people out than Vincente Padilla…I saw Pete Rose in Vegas signing shit at a memorabilia place. No one was in line for him, and he just sat at a card table staring blankly ahead. I felt bad for him.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Henry Rollins Book

I read most of Henry Rollins “Smile, You’re Traveling” while on the road this weekend. It’s a pretty quick read that offers the pretense of Rollin’s insight into some of the places he traveled to over a two year period. In theory, that should be pretty interesting as he works his ass off on the road, and because of that, enjoys some opportunities that are out of reach to the general public. For example, he hangs out with the original members of Black Sabbath as they rehearse for a reunion show. Pretty cool, no?

The book quickly spirals down into the one theme Henry Rollins has repeated over and over in his work. To save you the trouble of reading his 20+ books, here’s what is revealed in each book. “I am alone, and am unable to connect with others. I am a modern warrior silently battling the trappings of modern society that I find distasteful. Did I mention that I am alone? I don’t care and I like it.”

I think I’m going to get a book with unique perspective of other cultures from a guy that has had some pretty extreme life experiences, but instead I got this. (I paraphrase, but this is pretty close.) 12/17/99 Madagascar: The cab took me from the airport and drove by endless barren rows of concrete and tin huts. I don’t know how these people survive. I pass the armed security guards as we drive inside the gates of the hotel and I drink bad coffee all night. I’ll have to get up early tomorrow and find out if there’s a gym. 12/22/99 Madagascar: Not much has happened, so I decide to leave a day early for London. I arrive at the airport early as instructed by the tour guide, but find a horrible line. I wait around in the airport for hours with nothing to do. I want to fucking smash that horrible twerp security guard in the face when he asks me how I am doing. Instead I just grin at him and say nothing when he asks me why I got here so early. I could crush him like a paper cup, but what is the use. Tiny bugs like him will always scuttle around while I alone revel in the true strength of the post modern warrior.

(Let me give a less dramatic, but equally descriptive account of the same trip. 12/17/99 Madagascar: I flew in on the flight booked by my agent’s travel agent, and grabbed a cab back to my hotel. Although the city itself seems poverty stricken, my hotel is decent and is well guarded by security. I might work out later, because there isn’t anything to do here. 12/22/99 Madagascar: I didn’t walk around the city over the last few days because it looked pretty scary. I got bored at the hotel, so I arranged for an early departure to London. The driver told me to get to the airport early because of long lines and possible delays, but it turned out it was unnecessary. I was pretty pissed off I had to sit around the airport.)

I take my hat off to Rollins in his undeniable work ethic. The guy has made a career for himself on pure effort despite a rather flimsy set of accomplishments past Black Flag (whose great songs were written by guitarist Greg Ginn, as we all know). It’s too bad he can’t get beyond the one simple theme of isolation. “I am traveling alone. I like to travel alone. No one knows me. My phone hasn’t rung for days. I speak to no one.”…OK already! I get it. You are in a self imposed exile. I read these journals, and it seems like something meant to impress 16 year old girls. “I am a broken bird. Please, come fix me.”

Here’s the thing…These writings are positioned as literature, and meant to be taken seriously. The problem is our protagonist (Henry Rollins) is one dimensional. Henry Rollins= the primal man in modern society that has risen above our trivial stuggles. I don’t think he is actually revealing himself in these writings, do you? The caricature that he has created for himself may be safe (and somewhat profitable as it will always sell to alienated 16-22 year old boys), but is sure a lot less interesting than if he took the actual chance of vulnerability in his writing. I’d love to read a story about him mouthing off and then losing some macho weight lifting contest. Or getting totally shot down by some girl at a party…Or losing an argument with some dorky kid at a spoken word. Oh well, I’ll keep waiting. I think he’s capable of so much more…

Random Notes: It’s like I can see into the future as I gave anyone who would listen a winner with the Padres last Saturday. Dodger pitcher Jason Schmidt clearly isn’t right, and I believe he just went on the DL…Tom “The Enabler” Sheehan from the outstanding Radio Maria restaurant/bar in Champaign introduced me to Kentucky Breakfast beer from Founder’s Brewery. I think it’s a porter (or maybe a stout) that is aged for a year and a half in a bourbon barrel. It has overwhelming chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and a hint of coconut. What a monster beer. If you have to good luck of seeing it somewhere, make sure and give it a shot. You’ll love it…I got that new Kings of Leon CD. I’m not so sure about it. I think I might have an angry little rant about it, but I want to give it a few more listens first…How about the Cavs catching a break with that #2 seed? They just might win a series now!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Nurse the Hate: Hardcore and Punk

The Whiskey Daredevils have undertaken a project in conjunction with our German label Knock-Out Records of recording classic hardcore punk songs a la Daredevil style. This has led to a rather in depth inspection of hardcore and punk from 1977-1988 (or my glory days in the subgenre). It is with this in mind I present to you some must own albums of this time period.

1) Dead Kennedys “Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables”: This is the one that shows the DKs at their best both in attacking the songs as well as direct sensational lyric writing from Jello Biafra. I was busy listening to albums about wizards and magical swords until I heard this. Right then I understood music could be funny, aggressive, and serious at the same time. It became impossible to listen to Rush again…“Holiday in Cambodia” is arguably the first American punk anthem. “Let’s Lynch the Landlord” has a great surf lick, with the added bonus of lyrics that make sense to a guy paying $300 a month for a shitty college apartment. All the hits are on it…”Chemical Warfare”, “Kill the Poor”, “Stealing People’ Mail”, “Funland on the Beach”, and their great cover of “Viva Las Vegas”. If they had put “Police Truck” on it, it may have been one of the best rock records ever.
2) Black Flag “Damaged” : A 19 year old kid told me all music from the 80s sucked. I gave him a copy of this and it caved his head in. All those crappy nu metal bands wish they could harness the raw energy and adolescent rage in this DIY recording. “Six Pack”, “Gimme Gimme Gimme” and “Thirsty and Miserable” are great songs by guys that didn’t really know what they were doing and didn’t give a shit. I saw Rollins do these songs on that West Memphis Benefit tour, and I still felt like putting my head through a wall when anything from this release was played.
3) Fear “The Record”: Sure, there’s some stuff on this that didn’t work. But the stuff that does? “I Don’t Care About You” is perfect. Lee Ving is like that drunk in the back of an airplane whose every word carries unwanted to the front of the plane. You don’t want to listen to him, but you have no choice. I Don’t Care about you/Fuck You! I don’t think he was making that up. How great is “New York’s Alright If You Like Saxaphones”? Stupid and smart at the same time, Fear was like the playground bully that secretly got straight A's.
4) Butthole Surfers “Brown Reason to Live”: I remember the first time I saw the cover of this record, and thought “Are you allowed to release records like this? Shouldn’t the Authorities be called in?”. The distended African children’s bellies in black and white give way to the complete tunelessness (but somehow unforgettable) “The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey’s Grave”. I still don’t know what the hell “Wichita Cathedral” is all about. Was “Gary Floyd” on this? This record is like the worst acid trip ever, and the evil twin to Pink Floyd’s “Piper at the Gates of Dawn”. Yes, acid can be like a visit to the magical kingdom of H.R. Puffinstuff. It can also be like this...If you need to clear a room at a party, drop this on them and watch the uninitiated run for the doors.
5) Minutemen “Three Way Tie For Last”: I know the trendy pick is for Double Nickles on the Dime, but this might be more accessible. Double Nickles with 48 songs is almost overwhelming. I love the songs “Courage” (with Madonna’s Like A Virgin bass line swiped by Watt), and “The Big Stick” in the way they shine D. Boon’s good heart mixed with his unflappable sense of right/wrong. “Stories” is a quiet, adult, latin flavored, girl-done-me-wrong song. A great cover of the Meat Puppet’s “Lost” (before that Kurt Cobain fella decided to give it a shot), and CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” complete the record. This is a perfect way to see what the fuss was about and build up a strong hunger for more Minutemen. Then you can go tackle Double Nickles…

Random Notes: I strongly advise on ordering a Rogue Double Chocolate Stout when you next have the opportunity. It’s good tasting and good for you….The Indians “home” series vs the Angels has been moved to Milwaukee. How many people will possibly show up to watch? The Brewers don’t draw flies, and I can’t see the people of Milwaukee forking over ten bucks to catch Casey Blake and Trot Nixon in action. Did MLB fuck up early season scheduling or what?...The Cavaliers have the scent of a team ready to tube in the playoffs, don’t they? I hope they win a couple series at least. The NBA Playoffs last until June 23rd. June 23rd!!! If there’s not a local angle, I’m going to be pretty pissed off watching these NBA creeps all summer...I went 3-0 on early MLB gambling action Sunday. I was lucky. I didn't know or have any reason to bet the way I did. Snowy and crappy weather + Sunday afternoon + Direct TV MLB Season ticket= Poorly conceived baseball bets.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Nurse the Hate: Championship Game

Well, "The Iceman" Artie Lange went 0-2, but unfortunately the Stern show is off on vacation, so we won't get to hear his take on the game. That's a damn shame...The good news is that I was all over Florida on Saturday, and I'm going to follow this thing through tonight giving the four and a half. Florida has the swagger and multi dimensions of a champion team, and though OSU really sacked up Saturday I think the Gators are just too much. I saw that Dec OSU/Fla game, and I rememebr it well. Florida's got too much in too many places. They killed UCLA, and that's a damn good team. I think Oden gets in foul trouble again, and then the bigs take it to the Buckeyes on the boards. It seems too easy, but nationally it's about 60/40 on Fla.

Random Note: Boy did Jose Contreras look bad against the Indians today. Also of note is how old and rickety the Yankees looked against the pitching poor Devil Rays. The way to beat the Yankees is to run like crazy on them, and hope like hell your starter can pitch 6 and change. However, that line up is like a beer league softball team good for 7 runs a game. You're gonna have to win 8-7 games if you have no pitching. If you do have pitching, you'll make them look like the Tigers did in the AL Playoffs last year....Rolling Stone magazine has a real cutting edge cover story this week. Pink Floyd: An Inside Look. Wow...That would have been relevant 21 years ago. Way to go Rolling Stone! By the way, all of their reviews are for sale. Ever notice that whenever the new shitty Bruce Springsteen/David Bowie/Mick Jagger record comes out they are all 4 star masterpieces? Then, coincidentally, you'll see full page ads for the releases in the next 3 issues. Maybe I'm being cynical...Maybe that Bruce Springsteen "The Ghost of Tom Joad" really was a 4 star masterwork and not a whiny collection of wandering new Dust Bowl musings without any tuneful hooks whatsoever. My mistake.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Nurse the Hate: Hate Game Shows

So it’s three thirty in the morning, and my basset hound is waking me up, panting, and generally flipping out because a thunder storm is rumbling off in the distance. He gets very upset at the lightning flashes, making it impossible for me to sleep. For some reason my groggy advice of “Go to sleep…” doesn’t seem to do the trick for him, and his persistence pays off. I’m awake.

I go downstairs with him, hit the lights on and turn on the TV. This effectively eliminates the lightning flashes for him, and he drops off to a dead sleep in about 45 seconds. Unfortunately, I’m wide awake surfing through my 700 channels on Direct TV and not finding anything of interest. It seems incomprehensible that I cannot find anything interesting to watch with this many options, but there it is. What is it I’m looking for? Why have the television networks failed to deliver the high quality, exciting programming I seek at 345am?

There must be reruns of 10 different game shows where Rubes of all kind play a game designed to be compelling to an eight year old. “OK Larry…You can get to the bonus round if you think that the Prize-a-tron is in one of the 12 suitcases. But remember, there are still 11 Whammies out there in those 12 suitcases. Do you want to take the $50,000 you’ve already won, or risk it all for the Prize-a-tron?”

“Well Jack, I’m going to go for it! Despite the fact I need $35,000 to save my mother’s home from foreclosure, I’m feeling lucky! I definitely want to win that big screen TV from the Prize-a-tron!”

The crowd goes wild as he goes for it, and then lets out a groan when his 8% chance fails to materialize. “Ohhhhhhh….What a tough break! Well, thanks for playing, and here’s a new poncho from Burlington Coat Factory. Maybe you can give it to your Mom to face those wet Seattle nights. It’s all from Burlington Coat Factory, Looking Good For Less!”

It must have been about 430am when it hit me. The problem with those shows is that they don’t go ALL THE WAY. Here’s my concept for a new show, “Love or Money”. Contestants will have the chance to win untold riches on the show. They will play a simple high low game with balls coming out of a tumbler numbered 1-100. There are also balls with a heart on them mixed into the balls in play. Example: The first ball is a 10, and the contestant chooses “Higher”. When the next ball is revealed to be a 74, the contestant wins a cash prize. “Hey! That sounds like any other game show!” Not so fast…here’s the twist.

A loved one of the contestant has been taken captive by the staff of “Love or Money” and is being held in an undisclosed location. If the heart ball is chosen, a closed circuit feed shows the loved one being held captive by thugs in ski masks (who are called something like “The Baddies” to dumb down the sheer horror of it). “Well Larry…Looks like you got The Heart! We still have a $500,000 bonus ball in play, and you have already amassed $75,000 in prize money. You’re sitting on a 35 right now. If you make the correct guess if the next ball is higher or lower, you’ll double your money for $150,000!!! (Crowd screams in delight) But remember, if you’re wrong, The Baddies will cut off your wife’s ear with a straight razor. What’s it going to be Larry? Love??? Or Moneyyyyy????? (Crowd goes wild yelling “Money!” or “Love”!)

“Well Jack, the money I won already would pay for our daughter’s college, but I really have my eye on a new bass boat too. If I lose, I can probably keep going and win enough to cover an operation for my wife’s ear, but she looks pretty scared on the monitor there… I’m so confused….(Crowd continues to scream “Love!/Money!”) Can I use one of my lifelines?”

“Larry is going to use one of his lifelines! Larry, who would you like to call? Your mother, or your sister in law? As this is a round two lifeline, you’ll only get 15 seconds of conversation.”

“Jack, I’ll call Melinda, my wife’s sister! She’s got a great head on her shoulders!”

“Hello? This is Jack Tarkington from “Love or Money”! We’ve got your Brother in law Larry on the phone looking for some advice!”

“Sweet Jesus Larry!!! They’re going to cut off her ear! For the love of God…”

“Melinda…take it easy. I think the next one is going to be lower. I can feel it. I think we should go for it. Just think about how great it’ll be this summer for you and Roy to be out on the lake on that new bass boat.”

“Larry…Please!!! (click)”

We could knock out a 25 rating on this show, and make American Idol a distant memory. Does it push the envelope? Of course it does. But when you’re talking about $500,000 per :30 on a Network basis, this thing is a virtual printing press of American Greenbacks. I will be receiving offers for my show concept on a blind submission basis similar to the Japanese baseball player draft. Any interested parties need to send a check to PO Box 771101 Lakewood OH 44107 for the opportunity to negotiate for the rights to this show (and the half dozen others I’d like to get into development). I look forward to your submission.